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Diabetic Coma and Type 2 Diabetes

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A diabetic coma could happen when your blood sugar gets too high -- 600 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or more -- causing you to become very dehydrated.

It usually affects people with type 2 diabetes that isn’t well-controlled. It’s common among those who are elderly, chronically ill, and disabled. Doctors aren’t sure why, but they think they these people may not realize they’re thirsty or may not be able to get enough to drink.

This is a serious condition, and if it isn’t spotted soon and treated quickly, it could be fatal. Knowing the symptoms can help you stay safe.

What Are the Warning Signs?

If you have diabetes and you’ve had a heavy thirst and gone to the bathroom more often than usual for a few weeks, check with your doctor -- especially if your blood sugar isn’t well-controlled. As your body loses more and more water, you may notice:

What Causes Diabetic Coma?

These factors can also lead to dehydration and coma:

How Is It Treated?

Once your doctor spots the early signs, he may send you to the hospital. You’ll get an IV to replace lost fluids and electrolytes such as potassium. And you’ll get insulin or other medication to control your blood sugar. The coma can lead to death if left untreated.

Can It Be Prevented?

Take these simple steps to help protect yourself:

  • Check your blood sugar regularly, as your doctor recommends.
  • Know your target blood sugar ranges and what to do if the readings are too high.
  • Plan how often to check your blood sugar when you’re sick.
  • Take extra care of yourself if you’re ill.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on July 12, 2014
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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